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De Beers puts property on market

19 Mar 2010
Diamond miner De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) is to dispose of its Jagersfontein Diamond Property in the Free State, the company said late Thursday.

The mine operated from 1870 to 1971 producing a Tailing Mineral Resource of just over 13 million tons at an average grade of 12,8 cpht.

For a number of years, DBCM has publicly affirmed its intention to offer the Jagersfontein Property to investors.

DMCM said it has a strategy to operate mines and manage resources that meet its commercial criteria. Where its assets do not align to the company's future strategy, it seeks opportunities to further the objectives of Broadly Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) by disposing of these assets to consortia with empowerment credentials.

Jagersfontein is a mine of historical significance as it predates the Kimberley discoveries and has yielded some of the world's largest gem diamonds. In its day it was the source of some of the world's largest diamonds, notably the Excelsior of 995.20 carats discovered in 1893, which until the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond was the world's largest rough diamond.

The Jubilee was discovered in 1895 of 650.80 carats and yielding a 245.35 carat white cushion shaped gem, which is ranked in the top ten largest polished diamonds in the world. A more recent discovery, The Earth Star, found on May 16, 1967 was cut to a pear shaped 111.59 carat gem from a rough gem weighing 248.90 carats.

However, the recovery rate of diamonds per hundred tons of ore treated can be termed low yield.

De Beers said the tailings - commonly known as mine dumps - may be attractive to a mining company or consortium with empowerment credentials and a sound track record in respect of tailings processing operations.

The process to be followed in inviting mining companies to express their interest will be initiated by the advertisement of a DBCM request for “expressions of interest” (EOI) in the property. The company expects to proceed later this month with the public process.

De Beers has engaged with the appropriate government authorities at national, provincial and local government level. The company appreciates the cooperation of government in expediting the process of the sale of the Jagersfontein Property.

The company expects the diamond asset will attract interest as there are nowadays a number of competent mining companies experienced in processing such resources. The company notes an improvement in the junior diamond mining sector and in the outlook for rough diamonds, which is beginning to show some signs of recovery. – I-Net Bridge

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